Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Harvest Party

One of my greatest memories from childhood involves the night before Valentine's Day. The kitchen was filled with the smell of strawberry cakes baking. My mother, with a list of my classmates in hand, carefully created an individual, personalized, heart shaped cake for each of my friends. She did this seven years for me. That was approximately 400 cakes. Not to mention that she was also doing the same thing for my brother, at the same time. I wish I had a picture of one of them, they were beautiful. I'll never forget my seventh grade year on Valentine's day, my friends and I realized we were too old to be allowed parties at school. We were discussing this at lunch and one of my friends mentioned how sad she was to not get her cake that year from my mom. I think about those cakes, every Valentine's Day and sometimes in between. Sometimes I catch myself craving one, usually it's when I'm really missing my Mom.

Before I had children, I often wondered if I would be capable of doing something that would have such a lasting impression on my child. One of the reasons I decided to learn how to decorate cakes was because of the memory of those Valentine's day cakes. I wanted to provide that special memorable snack for my child. Then, I began to work in daycares and the school system. I realized that times are very different now. Due to many safety and health regulations, most schools will no longer allow you to bring in homemade treats. I understand the rules and the reasons they are in place, but they sadden me. I began to realize I wouldn't be able to provide the same things for my children that my parents did, just because it's a different world.

Then, Aiden began preschool and last month the teacher asked for a parent to bring a special treat for the Harvest Party. I asked if it could be homemade and she said yes! I was so excited!!! I literally jumped at the chance.

Aiden's Harvest Party was alot of fun today!

Bob and Larry, all dressed up, playing a game with one of Aiden's teachers, Mrs. Amy.

Aiden's class (and some siblings, Anthony did not want to be in the picture though)

Aiden telling his friends about "my pumpkin patch cake"

When Aiden saw the cake for the first time he got so excited. He kept telling everyone there was a "pumpkin patch cake" and that "my Mommy made it for me." He was a little confused, he kept telling people it was his birthday. And he got very sad when he realized he would have to wait until snack time to actually have a piece of the cake. He ate the pumpkin that fell off the truck. :)

When that little face lit up at the sight of that cake I understood all of those strawberry cakes more deeply than I ever have. I was overwhelmed by a love for my child. And yet, there was another emotion mingled in there for me, a deep gratitude for my Mom, a striking appetite for her presence with me, and a tiny bit of hunger for a Valentine's day cake.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As a young girl, in a church small group, I was encouraged to write a list of what I wanted in a husband. That list included things like a strong Christian, a spiritual leader, loves children, and enjoys ministry. It also said, "brings me coffee like Pepa." You see, my grandparents, Loyd and Opal Elrod, have always been an inspiration to me for lasting love. I had the extreme privilege of growing up with them two minutes from our home. I spent many nights in their home. As long as I can remember, and even before I was born, Pepa brought Mema a cup of coffee in bed every morning. I wanted a love like that. I can remember telling my Mema that and her saying, "well baby, you're going to be waiting a long, long time, because they don't make them like your Pepa anymore." I was young at the time and a little disillusioned with the opposite sex anyway. I was beginning to believe she was right. Many people were beginning to tell me to lower my standards. Pepa took me aside one day and said, "baby, you hold on to your standards, you deserve the best." So, I did. I held fast to my prayers for my husband and I held fast to my dreams of a love like no other.

This morning I went to Bible Study and Patrick played with the boys. As I walked out of Bible Study, thinking of heading home quickly to get Anthony to speech therapy, much to my surprise two little boys ran towards me yelling, "MOMMY!" My incredibly handsome husband was right behind them with a cup of fresh, flavored, hot, yummy coffee from my favorite local coffee shop. My small red head was yelling, "We surprised you Mommy!" Yes, they did! Not only did my best friend bring me coffee, he is teaching our sons about the way to have a lasting love (something he learned from his own father).

A few years ago I was asked to submit a recipe for a family cookbook. Here's the recipe for "Coffee."


Coffee grounds
A Whole lot of love


When I moved to college and got my first job in an office I was very excited. As I was leaving my interview my new boss said, “one of your jobs will be to make coffee for the professors every morning.” I said okay and left. I panicked. I didn’t know how to make coffee, but I didn’t want to look like an idiot, so I didn’t tell her that. I ran home and called my Pepa. Pepa said, “Well, the best coffee is made in a deer lease over a fire, but I guess you’ll have to do with a coffee pot.” Pepa told me to take three scoops of coffee and put it in the coffee filter, pour water into the coffee pot, and add a dash of salt to the coffee grounds. Then he said, “be sure to make it with love Angie.” He assured me I’d do fine and called me the next day to see how it went. I got hundreds of compliments on my coffee over the next year from various professors at Texas Tech University. Pepa taught me how to make coffee in 1992, but I really learned so much more that day. I learned that I had been watching Pepa make coffee for years and that he was really teaching me:

1. One of the keys of making a marriage work is doing little things for your spouse to show you care. Pepa took Mema coffee in bed for fifty something years.

2. He taught me that I deserved the best in life and encouraged me to hold out for a man that would love me enough to “bring me coffee in bed.” I found him, thanks Pepa!

3. It’s the simple things in life that count. You just couldn’t beat a good cup of black coffee for Pepa. It was “better than snuff on a nanner” to him. He didn’t understand the flavored coffee craze and he would cringe every time I put sugar and cream into my coffee. He always told me that I needed to drink it black because it would “put hair on your chest.”

4. Coffee is always better with a friend or a family member. Find someone to share it with and do it daily. I think his favorite coffee pot was at a paint store in downtown Eastland.

5. You should never leave anyone out. Always ask someone if they would like some coffee, even if you asked them last time and they said no. If they don’t like coffee, bring them hot chocolate in bed. Be sure to add marshmallows.

So, thanks Pepa! I had an amazing cup of coffee today. It's so much sweeter made with love. I love you Patrick, you truly are the love of my life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Well, doctor, you see, my Mom . . .

Today is a lazy day for us here at the headquarters of team Bailey. We are still in our jammies and it is lunch time. The boys are watching movies all day while I clean on the house and do laundry. We haven't done this in a really long time. We're taking a much needed "mental health" day. Speaking of mental health . . .

The question of the day is:

What do you think the psychological repercussions will be of feeding my children fish sticks while they are watching Finding Nemo???

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15th

On September 28, 2006, the United States Congress passed a resolution declaring October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Today we remember our children in heaven.

Hannah Grace Bailey - December 18, 2005 - miscarriage at 11 weeks, no known heartbeat

Colin Michael Bailey - August 25, 2006 - stillbirth at 32 weeks due to intrauterine growth restriction as a result of maternal floor infarction of the placenta

Airen Lee Bailey - November 1, 2007 - miscarriage at 10 weeks, no known heartbeat

Dash Liam Bailey - August 11, 2008 - miscarriage at 10 weeks, his tiny heart was beating at seven weeks, it stopped beating around nine weeks

Through each of these children I have learned that life is precious and not to be taken for granted. One of my favorite quotes is by Mayor Bloomberg, stated on the anniversary of the tragedy of 9-11. He said,

"It has been said that a child who loses his parent is an orphan, a man who loses his wife is a widower, a woman who loses her husband is a widow. There is no name for a parent who loses a child, for there are no words to describe this pain."

Even though I love this quote, and I believe it speaks volumes to the grief a parent endures from the loss of a child, I look to another source for comfort.

1 Thessalonians 4:13

Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who die, that you may not grieve for them as the rest do who have no hope beyond the grave.

God's word does not say, "Don't cry." Even Christ wept over the death of his friend Lazarus. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that God's word gives us a time limit for our grief. When we enter heaven, our tears will be wiped away. In other words, this will always affect my life, I will be grieving until I am reunited with my Savior. So, there is hope. Hope that our grieving will end and that we will not be separated from our children forever. My sons and daughters, who have gone on, lived a life I'm jealous of. They knew perfect love in an instant. They were warm and safe and deeply loved while on earth. Then, they quietly slipped from love to perfect love into the arms of Christ. Someday I will hold them. Someday I will hear their stories. I tell their stories now, but I have such a limited view of their lives and impact on this world. I also see their lives mixed with an incredible amount of personal pain for myself and my loved ones. Yet, someday Jesus will wipe away those tears and that pain and He will truly receive the glory for their lives. So, today I remember. And I look forward to the day I will forget.